An Open Letter to the Moving Spirit Community
To my treasured Moving Spirit Community,
After a summer that never felt like it ever really launched, I’d like to let you know that I’m putting a pause on new articles for the Moving Spirit blog for a few months. I want to take some time to process the magnitude of change that Covid19 has brought to my life personally, to my business, to our community and to our world. (Sounds big… because it is!)
In March, the full force of the Covid19 pandemic struck our part of the world. I closed the doors to Moving Spirit – knowing that it was absolutely the right thing to do – but with no small degree of terror about what would happen next. The business was essentially in free-fall. I was scared. Really, really scared. But, I’m a pretty resourceful person, and I know I can do hard things; so with the help of my family, my friends, and our amazing Moving Spirit community, we found a way to keep things going. (A special shout-out to Allison Birt, without whom all of it would have been exponentially harder. Thanks for your courageous heart, your creative mind, your calming presence and your oh-so-capable hands!)
I reached out to my clients and to my professional community – knowing that everyone was experiencing some variation of this sense of being abruptly cut adrift. The only way I could think to manage was to raft together to weather the storm. Clients described their experiences and told us what they needed most. A lovely close group of colleagues and studio owners got together to talk about some of our most pressing issues, and what we were doing to handle them. We shared resources, plans and tears. We brainstormed, and we cheered each other on.
New and Familiar Challenges
At Moving Spirit, we’ve been working in the studio again since June. Some folks have chosen to stick to virtual Pilates sessions, while others are thrilled to be back in the studio. Through it all, I have been witness to the profundity of this pandemic experience. I have been able to grieve with you for the people and the things you’ve lost. I’ve shared your frustrations about our common circumstances and how they have affected your lives in particular. I’ve seen the fear in your faces as you prepare to go back to work, or not, as you face economic hardships, illness and disability, and as you prepare to send your children to school. It has been my honour to hold a space where you can feel the fullness of your experiences… and then just move your bodies. There is something incredibly grounding in that.
During this time, I’ve been dealing with a personal challenge of my own. Just prior to the pandemic pandemonium, I received results of an X-Ray that showed I have 5 healed vertebral fractures that I never knew about. We’ve since determined that there’s no osteopororis, but the disruptive changes in my spine remain. I’m surprised by the depth of emotion I have around that. I’ve had a summer to get to know my own structural “new normal” and to find ways to navigate toward better function. In the scheme of things, it’s pretty small. But it did awaken me to a level of drive in my own nature that may not always be in my own best interests. Yet more to explore…
Creating a Plan
I’ve heard from various “experts” about what is coming in the next few months – and most of it sounds pretty grim. The numbers of people with the Covid19 virus seem to be on the rise. Political and social unrest surround us. Change is everywhere and at every level. There are no certainties, no guarantees. There is no guidebook for this. No handy listicle to follow. Any protocols we’re given are open to review as more information comes to light. We are creating our future, moment by moment, without benefit of existing data that might predict how this will all play out. So yeah… it’s hard. I have to wonder though – does it all have to be negative? What if we could pull wonderful new things from the ashes of our old normal?
With all of these feelings rumbling around in my heart, I realized that the last thing any of us need is “more” anything. As I worked to make ambitious plans, or even to plan for things we had done in the past, I began to feel like I was straying from real and meaningful interaction. And I’ll admit to a level of fatigue after 6 months of continual innovation, re-creation and Covid19-responsible program delivery.
At this point, I truly believe that any cotton-candy coloured content offerings just put clouds of distracting fluff into a virtual space that is crying out for honesty and meaning. I have worked hard over the years to bring you content that I felt would add something to your experience of moving in your body, to living in your body and to working toward your goals. I invited guest contributors to write from their own expertise, bringing us new perspectives. But now doesn’t feel like the time for that.
A Time for Deep Listening
This is a period of deep learning for me, both personally and professionally. It is a time to listen, to learn, to observe, to process and percolate. Maybe it’s just the introvert in me – needing some quiet inside the chaos. What really matters for me now is the moment, and the movement. Looking inside – feeling the body living and moving through whatever is going on. The things I learn inevitably informing my understanding of the world around me.
For now, rather than reaching out and seeking to ease or transform this moment into something more palatable, I feel a need to simply experience it. To acknowledge the tender bits, the vulnerabilities and the things I wish were different… and learn from them. Rather than rush toward productivity and performance at any cost, I want to find ways to support the lost bits: in my body, in the people I work with, and in my business and community.
Do I know what that looks like? No, not even a little bit! It feels a bit like shining a light into a dim storeroom full of cobwebs. Therein lies the challenge. I want to listen beyond my training and expertise to hear what I haven’t heard before. To see what has, as yet, remained unseen. To question all the things I have assumed were just true. I trust that whatever I learn will help me to serve you more fully in the ways that are most important.
So for now, you won’t find regular new blog posts on our website. Instead, I’m sinking in to the moment, the movement, and to the people from whom I learn every single day. If you’re not in the studio regularly, catch up with us on social media to see what we’re up to. Better yet, join us in the studio. Take some time to really connect to your moment and your movement as you “work out.” Allison and I will bring all the skill we have to learning with you, and to supporting you in this crazy new space we all inhabit. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll all find a little magic inside of it.
With much love, respect and deep gratitude,
Moving Spirit Pilates
PS. If you’re ready to explore meaningful movement as a choice for fitness, check out our Getting Started with Us Guide to find out if Moving Spirit is a good fit for you.
About Susannah Steers
Susannah is a Pilates and Integrated Movement Specialist, and owner of Moving Spirit. Through movement teaching, speaking, and facilitating workshops, she supports people in creating movement practices that promote fitness from the inside out. She loves building community, and multi-disciplinary connections. Along with her friend and colleague Gillian McCormick, Susannah co-hosts The Small Conversations for a Better World podcast – an interview based podcast dedicated to promoting the kind of conversations about health that can spark positive change in individuals, families, communities and across the globe.